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2020 United States Senate election in Arkansas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2020 United States Senate election in Arkansas

← 2014 November 3, 2020 (2020-11-03) 2026 →
Tom Cotton official Senate photo (cropped).jpg
Ricky Dale Harrington Jr (cropped).jpg
Nominee Tom Cotton Ricky Dale Harrington Jr.
Party Republican Libertarian
Popular vote 793,871 399,390
Percentage 66.53% 33.47%

Arkansas Senatorial Election Results by County, 2020.svg
County results
Cotton:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%
Harrington:      50–60%

U.S. senator before election

Tom Cotton

Elected U.S. Senator

Tom Cotton

The 2020 United States Senate election in Arkansas was held on November 3, 2020, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the State of Arkansas, concurrently with the 2020 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the United States Senate, elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.

Incumbent Republican senator Tom Cotton won reelection to a second term, defeating Libertarian challenger Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. Cotton outperformed President Donald Trump in the concurrent presidential election by 4.1%. The election saw an undervote of 26,000 compared to the presidential election. Harrington's 33.4% finish is the best ever for a Libertarian candidate in a U.S. Senate election by vote percentage, surpassing the previous record set four years prior in Alaska.[citation needed]

Republican primary

Cotton was unopposed for the Republican nomination.



Libertarian Party


  • Ricky Dale Harrington Jr., Christian missionary and prison chaplain[2]

Withdrawn candidates

Democratic Party

Josh Mahony was the only candidate to file for the Democratic primary; however, he withdrew his candidacy on November 12, 2019.[3] Because Mahony dropped out after the filing deadline, the Democratic Party of Arkansas could only nominate a replacement if the candidate died, became seriously ill, left the state, or filed for another office. As a result, the Democratic Party of Arkansas was not able to fill the vacancy.[4][5] A memo from the Cotton campaign to supporters detailed a strategy of sitting on opposition research regarding Mahony's employment history until after the filing deadline had passed.[6]





General election

Harrington speaking at an event focused on criminal justice reform in Springdale, October 25, 2020
Harrington speaking at an event focused on criminal justice reform in Springdale, October 25, 2020

In public comments, Harrington spoke about excessive partisanship in the election process itself and in Senate operations, such as the contentious nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.[9] Cotton declined to attend a debate hosted by Arkansas PBS, leaving Harrington as the sole participant. Harrington spent the debate responding to questions put to him by a panel of journalists.[10][11]


Source Ranking As of
The Cook Political Report[12] Safe R August 17, 2020
Inside Elections[13] Safe R September 18, 2020
Sabato's Crystal Ball[14] Safe R August 5, 2020
Daily Kos[15] Safe R August 31, 2020
Politico[16] Safe R September 9, 2020
RCP[17] Safe R September 17, 2020
Niskanen[18] Safe R September 15, 2020
DDHQ[19] Safe R September 16, 2020
538[20] Safe R October 11, 2020


Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (L)
U.S. Federal Officials
Other individuals


Graphical summary


Poll source Date(s)
of error
Cotton (R)
Ricky Dale
Harrington Jr. (L)
Other Undecided
University of Arkansas October 9–21, 2020 591 (LV) ± 3.9% 75% 20% 5%
Hendrix College/Talk Business & Politics October 11–13, 2020 647 (LV) ± 4.9% 63% 28% 10%
American Research Group (L)[A] October 7–9, 2020 600 (LV) ± 4% 49% 38% 13%


United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2020[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tom Cotton (incumbent) 793,871 66.53% +10.03%
Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. 399,390 33.47% +31.44%
Total votes 1,193,261 100.00% N/A
Republican hold


  1. ^ Key:
    A – all adults
    RV – registered voters
    LV – likely voters
    V – unclear
Partisan clients
  1. ^ Poll sponsored by Harrington's campaign.

See also


  1. ^ "Sen. Cotton says he's running for reelection in 2020". Associated Press.
  2. ^ "Harrington to challenge Cotton in 2020 election". Pine Bluff Commercial. October 7, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Two hours after filing period ends, Democrat Josh Mahony drops out of U.S. Senate race". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  4. ^ Brock, Roby (November 13, 2019). "Arkansas law suggests Mahony exit likely leaves Cotton without Democratic opponent". Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "There won't be an Arkansas Democrat challenging Sen. Cotton in 2020 election".
  6. ^ Lockwood, Frank E. (November 17, 2019). "Memo shows strategy for attack on Cotton opponent". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Little Rock: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Lockwood, Frank E. (April 29, 2019). "Retired general Wesley Clark rules out '20 run". ArkansasOnline. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Gilker, Kathryn (October 1, 2020). "Dan Whitfield suspends US senate race after not getting on the ballot". KFSM-TV 5NEWS. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  9. ^ Staff, Talk Business & Politics (September 27, 2020). "Libertarian Senate candidate Ricky Harrington calls for end to hyper-partisanship". Talk Business & Politics. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Boehm, Eric (October 12, 2020). "Tom Cotton won't debate his Libertarian challenger. The event will happen anyway". Reason Foundation. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  11. ^ Roberts, Adam (October 14, 2020). "Harrington, challenging Cotton, appears solo in Arkansas PBS debate". 40/29 News. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "2020 Senate Race Ratings for April 19, 2019". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  13. ^ "2020 Senate Ratings". Senate Ratings. The Rothenberg Political Report. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  14. ^ "2020 Senate race ratings". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  15. ^ "Daily Kos Elections releases initial Senate race ratings for 2020". Daily Kos Elections. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "2020 Election Forecast". Politico. November 19, 2019.
  17. ^ "Battle for White House". RCP. April 19, 2019.
  18. ^ "2020 Negative Partisanship and the 2020 Congressional Elections". Niskanen Center. April 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "2020 Senate Elections Model". Decision Desk HQ. September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Silver, Nate (October 11, 2020). "Forecasting the race for the Senate". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  21. ^ Brantley, Max (October 17, 2020). "Congressman endorses Ricky Harrington for U.S. Senate".
  22. ^ @RealSpikeCohen (October 11, 2020). "Donate to Ricky Harrington for his race against Tom Cotton. This is an absolutely winnable race for Arkansas Senate!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ @Jorgensen4POTUS (October 14, 2020). "The Arkansas Senate debate is live now...Tom Cotton refused to participate, there is no Democrat running, and Libertarian candidate Ricky Dale Harrington @RickyForSenate has the stage to himself. #Election2020" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "2020 General Election and Nonpartisan Judicial Runoff". Arkansas Secretary of State. Retrieved November 25, 2020.

External links

Official campaign websites
This page was last edited on 14 January 2021, at 10:11
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